If you’re into mountaineering, climbing, adventure sports or getting out into the great outdoors, then the Kendal Mountain Festival is something for you. I’ve just spent the weekend with Blacks in the Lake District getting inspired, equipped with new skills and encouraged to do more outdoor exploring in our amazing world.
I love being outside in nature, exploring and have a bit of an adventurous spirit. So when Blacks asked if I’d like to attend the Kendal Mountain Festival, I didn’t hesitate for a second before getting my camping gear together – although I had friends who were dubious that I would actually camp given the less than ideal weather conditions!
Technically a huge portion of then festival is based around a film festival celebrating the outdoors with sessions on bike riding, climbing, snow sports, water sports, mountaineering… However, the weekend was so popular that almost all the film sessions were fully booked out! One film I did see was the Adventures of the Dodo which sailed through some breathtaking scenery and displayed the quirky nature of the explorers. Everyone in the room laughed at the climber ‘sunbathing’ with a floating crocodile on an iceberg when it tipped over sending him sliding him into the arctic waters!
— Blacks.co.uk (@blacks_online) November 17, 2015
One part I enjoyed most about the festival were the sessions when inspiring mountaineers, climbers and adventurers shared their stories, challenges, passion and zest for life and adventure. I particularly enjoyed learning about Squash Falconers’s knickers amongst other things as she summited Mt Everest… Her motto ‘If your knickers are right, everything goes right’ made me crack up! She is the second adventurous woman I’ve met recently who has summited Mt Everest… is the world trying to tell me something??!
I loved how down-to-earth and approachable all these amazing people who have conquered epic heights were. Everyone was friendly and easy to chat with, inspiring us mere mortals to go out there and give it a go – whatever goals we want to achieve.
Adidas 10km Trail Run
I got a chance to run in the Kendal Mountain Festival Adidas 10k trail run, with an icy start on Saturday morning as we all shivered at the starting line. I felt pretty awful during the first few km of the run and wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the finish line. Luckily after a few km I felt much better and even managed a sprint finish down the cobblestone staircases to avoid being overtaken. Despite the chilly start, it was a beautiful day to run and there were fantastic views of the snow capped hills in the surrounding countryside.
Many of the brands and organisations at the festival ran skills workshops at their stands which were free to attend. Since the Citadel screening was fully booked out, I signed up for an hour-long sports climbing workshop run by the Association of Mountaineering Instructors. With the exception of a little bit of abseiling as a child and my recent experience canyoning in Cape Town, I am definitely a beginner climber. My instructor gave me and a friend a thorough, practical session where we were taught everything from tying figure 8 knots (probably not the right terminology… forgive me), belaying, setting up the gear, safety and how to finish off a climb when you are leading. There were plenty of ‘uh-huh’ moments, particularly with the finishing off a climb part – I had always wondered how you avoided leaving half your gear at the top of the cliff!
Food & Drink
Whenever and wherever food is mentioned, count me in. With the chilly mountain air, coffee to warm or wake you up is a must. Rinaldo’s coffee was a definite winner in my fussy coffee drinking cup. The Patagonian feast session was also a success – filling up 30 minutes before it was due to start. We tried chillies stuffed with cheese, spicy squash soup and other delicious treats paired with locally brewed beers. I was extremely impressed with Polish company Lyo and their freeze dried meals. So much so that I bought a few packs to try which will get featured on here in the upcoming weeks.
Local bands played live throughout the weekend in the tents around Basecamp. Free KMF beers were handed out to the acoustic vibes of Paper Cranes in the Lowe Alpine Advanced Basecamp tent on Friday night and then everyone got their groove on in the Marmot tent on Saturday evening with the very funky Room full of Mirrors.
Fun times. #Kendal15 A photo posted by Lucy Wallace (@snoweider) on
The weekend definitely kickstarted my passion for adventure and the great outdoors – I literally got home bouncing off the walls with excitement! It reignited a passion inside of me to be encouraging and inspiring others to be more active, get outdoors and reach for dreams and goals – regardless of what others say. Don’t (always) listen to others who say you can’t or shouldn’t do something you want to do or that makes you happy. Dream big and reach for those dreams, working hard to achieve them.
I’d definitely recommend anyone thinking about visiting the Festival to go and check it out next year.
NB. Blacks provided tickets for me to attend the Kendal Mountain Festival. As always, this post represents my own views. See my disclosure statement for more details.